Chevy on Top Gear: The 3 Best Chevrolet Segments
While Top Gear as we know it is over, the future of its former hosts, Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, and James May, is still up in the air. And while we hope they all land together on another car-related show soon, there are plenty of memories to revisit over the past 21 seasons they've been together. (Season one doesn't count, as James May hadn't joined the cast yet.)
Over the past 13 years, the show has seen hundreds and hundreds of cars reviewed, previewed, torn about, and held up on a pedestal. From the most basic cars to rare exotics, the show is a true learning ground for those who want to learn more about cars while being entertained by the antics of the three hosts.
And as a Chevy dealer in Miami, the staff here at Miami Lakes Automall loved seeing Chevys featured on the show. But because the show mostly catered to sports and high performance cars, there were only so many opportunities for a major American automaker like Chevrolet to make an appearance on the show.
Luckily, we tracked down our three favorite Chevy vehicles to ever be reviewed on Top Gear (including videos), so you can relive the memories right along with us.
2006 Corvette Z06 - Season 8, Episode 2
Every Top Gear fan knows how cynical Jeremy Clarkson can be of America. At every opportunity, he takes pleasure in insulting our country, but in mostly harmless ways.
That doesn't change when Jezza gets behind the wheel of Chevy's new (C6)Corvette Z06 back in 2006, when the company updated the Z06's engine from the LS6 to the LS7, giving the 2006 Z06 100 additional horsepower from the 7.0-liter V8 engine (500 total). At the time, it was the largest small-block engine ever offered by GM in a production-ready car.
During the review, Jeremy was harsh on the Corvette Z06 for the first 30 seconds, but once he got behind the wheel he began spinning a different story. He was blown away by the speed and sound of the Z06, giving GM the credit they deserved.
But then Jezza went beyond that. He claimed the Z06 was so quick, it could likely outrun the fuel that was powering it. A great compliment, sure, but he then had his producers drop line of gasoline on the side of track. They then set it on fire and Clarkson took off in the Z06 in a quarter-mile drag race.
Being the car it is, the Corvette actually did beat the burning line down the track.
Near the end of the segment, Jeremy drove the Z06 next to a Ferrari 575. The first thought in your head might be "Great, he's going to bash it while comparing it to the Ferrari."
Instead, he essentially called out Ferrari for having a car worth nearly three times as much as the Corvette but with similar performance numbers. His best line was "If a Martian came to Earth, he'd have the devil's own job explaining why."
For American sports car fans, this was one of the most satisfying reviews in Top Gear history.
2010 Camaro SS - Season 15, Episode 3
Richard Hammond is America's only real fan on Top Gear. Always there to bring up American muscle, or choose a wonderful American car for one of the show's many challenges, he can't get enough of roaring, naturally-aspirated V8 engines.
So when Chevrolet sent its brand new 2010 Camaro SS for the show to review, it had to be the Hamster that got behind the wheel. He complimented the new looks, modest pricing for the power, and superior handling compared to other muscle cars.
And at the time, the Camaro really could claim it was the best of the best with no competition. The 2010 Mustang GT had less horsepower than the base V6 2010 Camaro, and the 2010 Dodge Challenger was so big that only the top-of-the-line SRT8 trim could compete with the Camaro SS. (But if that competition involved any corners, the SS would win by a mile.)
After testing it next to a Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG, Richard went head-to-head with Jeremy in the studio, explaining that he'd have the Camaro over the more expensive and luxurious Mercedes because the Camaro is fun and has spirit.
Take that, Jezza!
2014 Corvette Stingray - Season 22, Episode 5
The C7 Corvette impressed nearly every single automotive enthusiast who laid eyes on it. But not just in America, where the Corvette is THE sports car that men dream of owning. And just like the last time Top Gear reviewed a Chevrolet performance car, they handed it over to their most-American-like host, Richard Hammond.
Upon seeing the new Corvette, Richard nearly fainted. He didn't say it at the time, but it was clear he thought that the C7 looked more like a $200,000 exotic car than a $50,000 American sports car.
After whizzing around in the Stingray for a minute, though, Hammond had no doubt he was in a Corvette. The new 6.2-liter LT1 V8 was music to his ears. And with 460 horsepower and 460 lb-ft. of torque, its 3.8-second 0-60 time is out of this world for a base Corvette.
Of course, Top Gear couldn't let America have its glory, so they had to bring on a comparable sports car to test alongside it. They chose the Porsche Cayman GTS. Unfortunately for Porsche fans, Richard actually preferred the performance of the new Corvette over that of the Porsche, which is considered to be a brand for sports car purists.
Being developed with track performance in mind, the 2014 Stingray not only had the power to be considered American muscle, but the cornering power that rivals European classics. For Richard Hammond, that was the perfect mix. He even went as far as to say: "This is the best sports car to ever come out of America."
If that's not a winning endorsement, I don't know what is. Let's just hope Richard gets his hands on the 2015 Z06 some day soon.